Monday, September 25, 2006

CQOD: 09/24/06 -- Tournier: personal language

Christian Quotation of the Day

September 24, 2006
    Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."
    -- Matthew 13:10-13 (ESV)

    Those old Greek gods are not just poetry and legend. In them the Ancients personified living realities—intelligence, beauty, love, or lust, which are still at work in our hearts, and which fashion our persons. The language they speak is that of image and myth, which touches the person much more directly than the explicit language of science and the intellectual dialectic of the modern world. It is also the language of the Bible, of the parables of Christ, which the rationalist of today finds it so difficult to understand, of the Word of God which demands of us not a discussion but a personal decision.
    ... Paul Tournier (1898-1986), The Meaning of Persons [1957]

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, may I not shrink from the demands of Your parables.

See Believer's Desktop Companion 2004

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Blogger Uncle David said...

Tournier writes of Greek gods as mere mythological embodiments of various virtues or human characteristics. That is putting the cart before the horse. He seems to say that man created God (or gods) in his own image. But the apostle Paul warned the Corinthian (Greek) church not to participate in idolatry. He called idols demons. (1 Corinthians 10:20-22)God is provoked to jealousy by a believer's participation in heathen sacrifices. "We cannot participate in the Lord's table and the table of demons." Be it known that the evil characteristics of humanity were not in the original creation's DNA. They were foisted upon us all by man's disobedience and the demonic infestations that resulted thereof.
Now disobedience has become so rampant that one writer has called obedience "the 'O' word!" Can obedience be associated with filthy talk? How far we have fallen.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Robert McAnally Adams said...

Dear Uncle David,

If Tournier were advocating the view that God is our personification of virtue or our creation, I would never have posted this CQOD. Tourner is, I think, talking about language, which is always a relevant subject when considering the Bible, or indeed, any literature.

As human beings, we are always influenced by the power of language and the images that language produces within us. That these images have origins within our culture and education is without question. What is not always observed is that God has redeemed the whole man, his language and thoughts included. Thus the images and metaphors with which we constantly communicate to one another may have pagan origins but they are converted to Godly uses. Hence, Paul, standing on Mars Hill, begins his sermon to the Greek worshipers by pointing to a familiar object, an alter dedicated to the "unknown god." Rather than condemning their idolatry, as he might well have done, Paul calmly proclaimed the truth of God that stood behind the alter's inscription.

The idolatry of our culture's icons, which you so justly condemn, can be and is converted (else how could any of us be converted at all). It is imperative that upon conversion one must leave behind the idols of our former life, but that does not mean that we must abandon the good and truth (what little there is) that our culture has bequeathed us and to which our icons may have pointed somewhat, in a faulty and fallen way.

After all, we are broken images of God to be repaired, not devilish images to be replaced.

I hope that makes some sense.

9:18 PM  

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